Head of Philippine Military Meets With Senior U.S. Defense Official

United States Indo-Pacific Command (IndoPacom) Commanding General Admiral John Aquilino met on Tuesday, March 12th, with Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief General Romeo Brawner Jr. on increasing defense collaboration between the United States and the Philippines amid Chinese activity in the region.

As a part of a two-day trade and investment trip, Aquilino traveled to the Philippine capital of Manila and to the AFP headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City. This visit came weeks after Brawner stated that Aquilino committed to participating in more joint naval drills and exercises, called Maritime Cooperative Activity, to increase the interoperability of the AFP and U.S. forces.

The meeting took place before the Balikatan or “shoulder-to-shoulder” exercises on April 22nd in key places such as the northern province of Batanes and Palawan province, which faces the South China Sea, also known as the West Philippine Sea.

A statement made by the AFP said both Brawner and Aquilino discussed “strengthening of coordination with other militaries from like-minded nations to advance the rules-based international order and secure a free and open Indo-Pacific region.”